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Worried about Pregnancy?
About Natural Family Planning
Fertility awareness, or natural family planning, has been used successfully since the 1930's to predict a woman's fertile days. These methods include the old calendar rhythm method and
sympto-thermal or basal body temperature methods, as well as newer techniques such as the
standard days method (CycleBeads), the TwoDay method and fertility computers.
Fertility awareness methods are based on the fact that
fertilization is most likely to occur around the time of ovulation.
Intercourse is avoided during those times when a woman is fertile,
thus preventing conception. These techniques are sometimes called periodic abstinence.
Fertility awareness methods are the
only methods of birth control which require the cooperation of
both partners. Advantages of these methods are that they are
very inexpensive, do not require the use of artificial devices
or drugs, and have no harmful side-effects. In addition, many
people prefer a natural, mutual method of preventing pregnancy.
Even if fertility awareness isn't used as contraception, every
woman can benefit from understanding the workings of her body.
Effectiveness of Natural Methods of Fertility Control
Many doctors are reluctant to recommend fertility
awareness methods because of the high failure rate of the rhythm
method, the first natural method to come into widespread use.
However, newer natural methods listed in this section are as
effective as artificial contraceptives. Additionally, users of these
methods tend to be very loyal, continuing to practice NFP longer than
users of any other non-surgical, non-prescription method, which
indicates high satisfaction among couples.
Most surprise pregnancies are due to risk-taking — having sex during identified fertile periods — rather than an inability for couples to properly interpret patterns of fertility. Many other failures are due to improper teaching and poor use.
Many couples opt to use a condom or cervical barrier method during fertile periods, which is safer than risk taking, but will still decrease the effectiveness of these methods.
A Woman's Monthly Cycle
Above is a pictorial representation of a 32 day menstrual cycle.
For this woman, ovulation takes place on day "17."
Chances of Pregnancy by Day of Intercourse
day zero is ovulation
To use fertility awareness
as a form of birth control it is strongly recommended that you
first confer with a trained counselor. Couples who use this method
improperly are more likely to get pregnant than those who misuse
- Learn about the following methods of Natural Family Planning:
- How to Get Pregnant:
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